Acta Med. 1999, 42: 133-138

Are Contrast Sensitivity Functions Impaired in Insulin Dependent Diabetics Without Diabetic Retinopathy?

Vladimír Liška, Miroslav Dostálek

City Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Litomyšl, Czech Republic

Received July 1, 1999
Accepted September 1, 1999

Purpose: To confirm the influence of multilevel metabolic disturbance of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) on the vision even before the onset of the other changes routinely evaluated by ophthalmologists. Methods: Contrast sensitivity functions (CSFs) were estimated using the VCTS 6500 board. The standardised measurement procedure was performed. The value of the threshold contrast sensitivity was obtained for five spatial frequencies (1.5 - 3 - 6 - 12 - 18 c/deg). Other data was collected (duration of diabetes, BCVA, funduscopy, fluoresceine angiography, HbA1C). The study group consisted of 48 IDDM patients (94 eyes) without diabetic retinopathy and with Snellen BCVA > 1.0. The control group (56 normals, 98 eyes) was age and BCVA matched. Results: Highly statistically significant decrease of the CSFs in all spatial frequencies in the study group was obtained. Correlation between duration of the diabetes and impaired degree of CSFs was present in the middle spatial frequency. No significant changes in CSFs were found among patients with pathological value of glycated hemoglobin HbA1c (>7.8 %). Conclusions: If compared with routinely used Snellen visual acuity, the CSFs are more complex descriptors of the subjects vision abilities. IDDM has an influence on these sensitive functions, especially during examination in the middle spatial frequency of 6 and 12 c/deg, before disturbing visual acuity and before changes in the retinal morphology. Decrease of CSFs was influenced mainly by the patients’ age and partially (in the middle spatial frequency) by the IDDM duration.


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